In a bid to raise money for the bushfire relief fund in Australia, star tennis players like Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal will feature in an exhibition match on January 15, five days before the start of the opening Grand Slam of the year – Australian Open.
The exhibition match will take place at Melbourne’s iconic Rod Laver Arena. The arena is also used as the centre court at the Australian Open.
Meanwhile, local favourite Nick Kyrgios will also be seen in action along with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki.
“For a period of about two and a half hours we’re going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort,” Tennis Australia (TA) chief Craig Tiley was quoted as saying by the BBC.
There have been fears that smoke haze could affect the Australian Open, but Tiley on Tuesday said this was unlikely.
“All the information we have at the moment, with qualifying coming up next week, is that the forecast is good, we don’t expect any delays and we’ve implemented additional measures to ensure the Australian Open will be able to run as scheduled,” he said.
Kyrgios will also be donating 200 Australian dollars for every ace he hits in events held in Australia in January as part of the fundraising effort, while compatriot Ashleigh Barty will donate all of her prize money from the Brisbane International.
The ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia has so far killed 25 people and thousands of animals while also destroying nearly 2,000 houses.
Not only the tennis players but cricketers, celebrities and personalities from all walks of life have also pledged to contribute to the bushfire relief work.